10 Time Management Tips for On-line Students

July 23th, 2014

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Are you thinking of taking courses on-line? Though online learning may be convenient, it does pose challenges to students when it comes to managing their time efficiently.

We’d like to offer the following tips to on-line students to avoid common time management pitfalls.

1. Keep family informed

family

If you’re planning on enrolling in an on-line program, sit down with your family and explain to them your schedule, and let them know you will need to dedicate a certain amount of time and space for your studies. If your studies will keep you from doing all your chores, this would be the time to let them know and ask for their help. It’s always a good idea to keep everyone in the loop so there are no misunderstandings and hard feelings.

2. Keep a schedule

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It’s important that as an online student you designate for yourself specific hours to do your studies. Having structure and a calendar dedicated to your studies is a great way to stay on course and not fall behind and lose momentum.

3. Do not procrastinate

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One of the biggest time management mistakes is procrastination; waiting until the very last minute to start working on an assignment, project or even preparing for an examination. Also, if you need to reach your teacher by email, don’t do it late at night, respect their reschedule.

4. Stay focused

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Make sure that when you’re on-line and studying, you are only accessing sites that are related to your studies. One way you can get sidetracked is by spending time on Facebook or other social media sites that rob you of the precious time you need for your studies.

5. Stay logged into your class

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By checking into your on-line class on a daily basis, you’re helping yourself to stay on track and feel less overwhelmed with assignments. It also helps you stay abreast of any changes the teacher may make to the syllabus or postings about special projects.

6. Speak up!

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The odds are that you may get sick or a personal or work-related event will take you away from your studies and cause you to fall behind. It’s really important that you contact your on-line instructors and let them know what’s going on so they can help you with rescheduling your assignments.

7. Maximize your time

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Take advantage of time you spend waiting at the doctor’s office, appointments or waiting in the car to pick up the kids or friends and use them as study opportunities or checking in with your online class for any updates. Don’t let these so-called in-between times be wasted.

8. Create a study space

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Make sure you create a space for your studies that is quiet and away from distractions. Finding a quiet place to study would be ideal. If you can’t study at home, check out your local library or even visit one at your local community college. You may be studying on-line, but it doesn’t mean that you have to be isolated from the world.

9. Keep a calendar

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It’s really important to record all the due dates for your assignments on a calendar with reminders. This way you will stay on top of your studies and never miss a due date.

10. Prioritize your studies

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First, dedicate a set number of hours for your studies, this way you will respect and honor this study schedule, no matter what tempting invitations are thrown your way by your friends and family. When you have a schedule, you can plan your workout and/or social activity around your studies so that they remain the number one priority, but you’re also not depriving yourself of some fun. Find ways to keep your studies front and center in your home and study space by leaving inspirational messages and books related to your course at different spots to serve as your constant reminder that your classes are your #1 priority.

ACEI
http://www.acei-global.org

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15 Fast Facts on Higher Education in Armenia

July 17th, 2014

armenia

Brief Overview: Armenia is the smallest of the former Soviet republics. It sits landlocked and earthquake ridden in rugged mountains tucked between Turkey (to the west) and Azerbaijan. It covers an area of 29,743 sq km.(slightly smaller than Maryland). It has a population of 3,060,631 (July 2014 est.) with 1,079,000 residing in its capital, Yerevan. The languages spoken are Armenian and Russian. Its religion is Armenian Apostolic. In A.D. 301, Armenia became the first Christian nation.

In the communist era, Armenian education followed the standard Soviet model of complete state control (from Moscow) of curricula and teaching methods and close integration of education activities with other aspects of society, such as politics, culture, and the economy. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, Armenia gained its independence on September 21, 1991.

Here are some fast facts on higher education in Armenia post 1991:

1. Per 2012 figures, Armenia allocated 3.3% of its GDP to education.

2. The Ministry of Education and Science is the authorized state body for education and responsible for developing and implementing state policy/strategy and for legislation in higher education. The Ministry is also a source of funding and exercises an oversight and auditing function.

3. The State Licensing and Accreditation Service were established by the Ministry and are responsible for the central accreditation system.

4. The National Centre for Professional Education Qualify Assurance Foundation (ANQA) which was established on December 2, 1008, is an independent foundation responsible for promoting quality at higher education level.

5. The Council of Records of State Higher Education Institutions and the Council of Rectors of Private Higher Education institutions are advisory bodies to the Ministry.

6. There are 26 state higher education institutions. The number of private Universities as of 2011 is counted to be 41.

YSU
Yerevan State University

7. In 2004, a system based on two cycles: Bachelor (bakalavreat) – four years and Master (magistros) – two years was introduced by the Law on Higher and Postgraduate Professional Education and by a government decree.

8. Since 2005, all state and private universities in Armenia have transferred their programs to the two-cycle systems.

ASU
American University of Armenia

9. The status of the previous specialist’s qualification (five years) has been equalized to the Master qualification.

10. Ph.D. program is also implemented within the framework of high education. The first level of Ph.D. studies starts with the researcher program which lasts three years. A Ph.D. student engaged in doctoral research, prepares scientific thesis and on successful defense of a thesis is awarded with a Ph.D. (Candidate of Science) degree.

11. Postgraduate education is conducted through two scientific degree systems: aspirantura (candidate of science) and doctorantura (doctor of science) requiring three years of full-time and five years if part-time/distant learning.

12. The types of tertiary education programs and institutions offering these programs include:

a. Vocational Colleges – known as Middle Professional Education Institution (Midjin masnagitaken usumnakan hastatuluuner) such as colleges (koledjener) and Craftsmanship colleges (arhestagortsakean usumnaranner);

b. Universities – offer bachelor, master and postgraduate and doctoral degree programs and provide opportunities for scientific research and study.

c. Institutes – offer specialized and postgraduate academic programs and scientific research in a number of scientific, economic and cultural branches

d. Academies – focus on offering programs aimed at the development of education, science, technology and culture in an individual filed, as well as postgraduate academic programs.

e. Conservatories – prepare individuals in the field of music, providing qualification development and postgraduate academic programs.

YSM
Yerevan State Medical University

13. To qualify for the Bachelor/Master degrees, assessment is based on a mid-term exam and an exam at the end of the semester, upon which the final mark is defined. Progress to the next semester/year of study requires a satisfactory final mark of 8 out of 20.

14. According to legislation, staff at the higher institutions is divided into the following categories: professors, associate professors, candidates of sciences and doctors of sciences. Staff is selected by open competition.

15. At this time, the National Academy of Sciences is favored over universities as it provides better research conditions. The various research institutes coming under the NAS receive direct funding from the government, while higher education institutions receive their funding through the Ministry of Education and Science.

Sources:

http://eacea.ec.europa.eu/tempus/participating_countries/overview/armenia_tempus_country_fiche_final.pdf

http://www.unicef.org/ceecis/Armenia.pdf

https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/am.html

http://travel.nationalgeographic.com/travel/countries/armenia-facts/

ACEI
http://www.acei-global.org

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Empathy: Is it Teachable?

July 10th, 2014

empathy

Empathy: the feeling that you understand and share another person’s experiences and emotions: the ability to share someone else’s feelings. Source: Merriam-Webster Dictionary.

Everyday we wake up to news of shootings in schools, children and teens bullied by their peers, gang violence, violent attacks against women, homosexuals, immigrant-bashing, brutalities inflicted on humans by other humans. We go to sleep to more news of violence around the world and the cycle continues. And, we wonder, who could do such heinous acts? What kind of a human being is capable of inflicting such pain and suffering on the innocent? Clearly, these are individuals unable to feel empathy.

In a recent post on the blog Mindshift the question is raised as to “Why its important to teach empathy to boys.” Why only boys? I believe it is just as important to teach empathy to girls as it is to boys. Here’s why. In a May 26, 2014 article in the Wall Street Journal, it was reported that girls show more aggression than boys in schools because they are “generally more socially developed and verbal than boys.”

Psychologists and educators are increasingly noticing children as early as kindergarten or even younger forming cliques and intentionally excluding others and displaying acts of aggression toward those excluded. Steps are being taken to curb this behavior by teaching empathy in elementary schools in order to diminish “relational aggression” which is a psychological term to describe “using the threat of removing friendship as a tactical weapon.” In addition, children are also receiving guidance on how to stand up for themselves against bullies and helping others subjected to social exclusion.

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Which leads me to ask the next set of questions: is it up to schools to teach empathy? Are we to assign teachers and schools the responsibility to teach our children to develop the positive character traits such as kindness, compassion, helpfulness, generosity, and consideration? Does empathy start at the school or at the home? What about the parents? Who teaches them empathy? Who teaches the teachers?

teachingempathy

Is empathy something we’re hardwired with at birth or can it really be taught? In that same note, if some humans are hardwired with the ability to be empathic are some, such as psychopaths, hardwired to be void of empathy? Psychopaths are defined as individuals who suffer from a personality disorder characterized by a lack of empathy and remorse.

As a non-scientist but a layperson interested in neuroscience and involved in education, I’ve always been fascinated with the question as to why some people are able to experience empathy while others are not. I look at our politicians some of whom display some elements of altruism while others proudly demonstrate their lack of empathy with their matter-of-fact slashing of social programs intended to help the needy and underprivileged, or the bankers who glibly make fortunes through the cleverly plodded loopholes and lets not forget those who brought the country to an almost economic collapse during the recent mortgage crisis, I still remember a banker interviewed on the radio as to whether he felt any remorse for what the banking industry had done to which he replied an emphatic NO! His rationale was simple, he saw himself as the smart one, the one who was able to figure a way to make boat loads of money. I’m paraphrasing here, but he basically said something to the effect of “suck it up people, we’re just smarter than you, that’s all.”

In his book, The Psychopath’s Test, Jon Ronson, explores the characteristics of psychopathy and how a psychopath is not necessarily the cold hearted serial murderer, but it is also the cold-hearted CEO or political leader who is capable of inflicting psychological harm on his/her employees or constituents.

Up until now, I was under the impression that you’re either capable of experiencing empathy or you are not. That is, you’re either born with it or you’re not. In a study published in the open-access journal Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, reports that “when individuals with psychopathy imagine others in pain, brain areas necessary for feeling empathy and concern for others fail to become active and be connected to other important regions involved in affective processing and decision-making.” Yet, new research by the Netherlands Institute of Neuroscience shows psychopaths in fact have the ability to switch on and off the ability to feel empathy ‘at will’. Given the discovery of this “on” and “off” switch has led the researchers to conclude that therapists can in fact teach psychopaths to be more empathic.

brains

According to the scientists involved in this research study, “the human capacity for empathy is rooted in the operation of ‘mirror neurons’ which are parts of the brain that activate when we do something but also when we observe someone else doing the same thing.” In other words, if we see someone getting hurt it triggers in us the vicarious sensation of pain which causes us to refrain from inflicting pain on another and prevents us from engaging in antisocial behavior.

Children need guidance from an early age to help them develop empathy otherwise they can become callous adults who are oblivious to the hurt and pain they cause others. Empathy, according to researchers is something that must be learned and an important role for parents is to guide their children from infancy by setting an example of empathetic behavior. Parents are in fact, their children’s best emotional tutor.

Several years ago I attended a three-day workshop lead by Rabbi Michael Lerner who spoke about a “New Bottom Line.” According to Rabbi Lerner, we need a new bottom-line instead of the old paradigm where money and power represent success. In this new paradigm, money and power are not the sole barometers of efficiency, productivity and success at corporations, governments, public institutions, and schools “but to the extent they maximize love and caring, ethical and ecological sensitivity, and our capacities to respond with awe and wonder at the grandeur of creation.” This is empathy. One of his ideas for progress had to do with our school system. Much of our public schools resemble factories and even the process of educating our children looks like an assembly line. Rabbi Lerner suggests that we allow older children to serve as mentors or tutors for the younger ones. He mentioned a school in NYC that had adopted this technique and the results were phenomenal. The older children felt responsible for the younger ones and were there to help them with their homework and school-related projects. The cooperation and camaraderie between them encouraged a friendlier and more harmonious school environment. It helped build the character traits that bring about empathy.

Empathy is, therefore, a learned behavior that can be taught. As humans, we are, after all, social animals. We learn by observing. Parents, older siblings, peers, and teachers can teach the children from an early age the basic character traits of kindness, goodness, generosity, compassion, consideration, helpfulness and by setting an example through demonstrating how to feel empathy.

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Steve Taylor, a lecturer in psychology at Leeds Metropolitan University and the author of several best-selling books on psychology and spirituality says it best: “Just as the lack of empathy makes cruelty and oppression possible, the presence of empathy heals conflict. The ability to empathize makes us truly human, and the wider it stretches – from victims to offenders, from one ethnic group to another, from nation to nation and religion to religion – the less brutal and more harmonious a place the world will become.” Yes!

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Jasmin S. Kuehnert
President & CEO ACEI
www.acei-global.org

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Fourth Of July Fun Facts

July 4th, 2014

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The Fourth of July: The day Americans celebrate their country’s independence.

It’s a day you probably know well, and one that you anticipate with pleasure; but there are probably a lot of fun facts about the nation’s birthday that you aren’t familiar with.

Click to see slide show of 10 interesting facts about July 4

Towering Pyramids: Bonfires on July 3rd

bonfire

Before fireworks were mainstream, huge bonfires were built to celebrate Independence day.

The bonfires reached monumental proportions, but none matched the 100-foot pyramid built for the Gallows Hill bonfire in Salem, MA.

Read the article on The Atlantic

As American as Apple Pie

apple_pie

One American tradition; two very different ways of preparing it – one of them doesn’t even have apples in the ingredients!

Get the recipes:

Mock Apple Pie

Traditional Apple Pie

Favorite 4th of July BBQ recipes

Here are some unique recipes to make your BBQ even more special with your family and friends this July 4th.

Fun 4th of July BBQ recipes

Happy Fourth from ACEI!

This independence day brings forth a new hope to make our tomorrows most beautiful and cherished. Wishing everyone a very happy 4th of July from all us here at ACEI!

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Academic Credentials Evaluation Institute, Inc.
www.acei1.com

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RIP: Maya Angelou

June 26th, 2014

Last month we lost the great Maya Angelou. Our guest blogger, Tom Schnabel, had the pleasure of meeting Dr. Angelou in 1995 when he hosted the radio show Cafe LA at KCRW, the public station housed at Santa Monica College. We’d like to share Tom’s recent blog about having Dr. Angelou as a guest on his show.

Maya Angelou
Maya Angelou: 1928 – 2014

I interviewed Maya Angelou on January 7, 1995. She visited Cafe LA as a guest DJ. She was wearing Malian mud cloth slacks. It was an El Niño year and it was pouring buckets outside. I welcomed her to sunny Southern California. The guest mike wasn’t working, there was no engineer on duty to fix it, but I had prepared and was ready. She did correct me, however, when I pronounced her name “Angelou” with the long “u”; she preferred “Angeloh”.

Since she wore so many hats, I asked her how best to describe her. She said it would be as a writer. Given the technical problems with her microphone, we turned to her first choice as guest DJ, “Stormy Weather” by Sarah Vaughan. Maya was a friend and fan. We talked about her trip to Europe as a cast member of Porgy and Bess, her journalistic work in Cairo (she learned Arabic too). It was during the Nasser era of the 1950s, and she sang a song by the great Oum Kalsoum in praise of the Egyptian president. She sang it with perfect diction, right there in the studio!

We talked about her friendship with James Baldwin, the effects of being an African American living abroad and what she learned. Maya then read a poem she wrote for James Baldwin.

Calypso

She had a commanding voice as she read it. She then picked duet song of Hank Williams, Jr. and Ray Charles. Her love of music was obvious. She even recorded an album of calypso classics back in the 1950s. She then featured the great Russian pianist Sviatoslav Richter in a Chopin scherzo. It reminded her of children playing, having fun on a Sunday afternoon. Maya then featured a buoyant, joyous Steve Wonder track.

We lost both the Ellington jazz crooner Herb Jeffries and now Maya Angelou. I have my aircheck cassettes out on my desk and will now proceed to transfer them onto CD for future posts. As I listen again to this aircheck from almost 20 years ago, I am happy we hit it off. My having been a comparative literature major in college and a music fanatic sometimes pays off.

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Tom Schnabel, M.A.

Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres
Blogs for Rhythm Planet
Author & Music educator, UCLA, SCIARC, currently doing music salons
www.tomschnabel.com

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15 Facts on South Korean Student Flows

June 19th, 2014

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When I first traveled to South Korea in 2001 and visited with officials at the Ministry of Education and at a number of the universities, there were 45,685 South Korean students studying in the U.S. The numbers grew to 75,065 in 2008/09 but began to show a dip to 72,153 in 2009/10.

In this blog, we’ll provide an overview of the flow of students from South Korea and factors that may have an impact on the rise or decline of the numbers of students seeking higher education in the U.S.

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1. Korea is the third largest source of international students to the U.S. after China and India.

2. More than 70,000 South Koreans studied on U.S. campuses in 2012–2013.

3. Korean parents place their children in U.S.-based private and public schools to have a better chance of being admitted to a U.S. college. (For example, at the University of Illinois, more than 69% of the Korean students admitted came directly from U.S. based high schools. Source: NAFSA International Education Magazine, April 2014)

4. According to the National Association of Independent Schools, Koreans are being quickly replaced by Chinese secondary students as the largest group of international students at independent schools. According to a report from the Association of Boarding Schools, Korean enrollments in member schools plunged 31 percent between 2010–2011 and 2012–2013 (from 3,800 to 2,600).

5. U.S. institutions continue to remain the favorite destination for study by South Korean students but the numbers are dropping as students are also looking at Canada as an alternative.

6. In 2012, 30.7 percent of Koreans studied in the United States, compared with 26.3 percent in China, 8.6 percent in Canada, 8.4 percent in Japan, and 7.2 percent in Australia, according to the Fulbright Commission in Seoul. Australia is aggressively marketing in South Korea to attract students to its institutions.

7. The rising cost of higher education in the U.S. and even Canada, Australia, Japan, is forcing South Korean students to look elsewhere, like Philippines and Malta, where education is affordable and English is the language of instruction. However, the number of students heading to these countries is very low. (According to Ministry of Education data from Fulbright Commission the share of South Koreans studying in the Philippines in 2010 and 2011 went from 1.1 to 1.2 percent, or to 3,238 students.)

8. The three factors that impact decisions made by South Koreans on studying abroad include: cost, value, and prestige. Most consider the cost of living in the UK as too high and consider U.S. universities as more prestigious than others

9. Prospective job applicants find that upon return to South Korea, employers prefer selecting a graduate from a U.S. institution.

10. In light of the weak job market for college graduates, a more popular option for Koreans is vocational schools that will be going through curriculum changes to include more hands-on training.

11. China is proving to be the Korean students’ second favored study abroad destination after the U.S. (According to the Wall Street Journal statistics: the number of Korean students flocking across the Yellow Sea to China grew more than three-fold between 2001 and 2012, from 16,000 to almost 63,000.)

12. More and more Korean companies are looking to hire college graduates who speak both fluent English and Chinese, since China is a key trading partner of South Korea.

13. On the other hand, many South Korean college graduates returning home are finding that the employers prefer hiring local college graduates as they see them to be less expensive and less inclined to change jobs.

14. Despite a weak economy and skyrocketing household debt, in 2012, Korean families spent $20 billion on private education (half of government education spending), or 2 percent of Korea’s GDP which makes education the nation’s largest spending area before defense expenditures.

15. The flow of Korean students to U.S. and abroad is contingent on whether Korean universities commit to reforms that will help their ranking on the list of top schools in the world. If they do not improve their ranking on the global level, South Korean students will continue to seek higher education opportunities in the U.S. and abroad.

Alan

Alan A. Saidi
Senior Vice President & COO, ACEI, Inc.
www.acei1.com

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IRAN: Happiness, Stealthy Freedom, and Faces of Iran on FB

June 12th, 2014

Happiness is…

If you’ve been following the news from Iran recently, you must have heard the one about the group of six young women and men who posted a clip of themselves happily dancing to Pharrell Williams’ hit song “Happy!” As quickly as their video had gone viral, Iran’s morality police had them tracked down, arrested and forced them to repent on state-run television for their unorthodox behavior. I’d happened upon their dance video via a recently discovered Facebook page called “Humans of Tehran” inspired by the original “Humans of New York,” which actually began with Brandon Stanton’s voyage to Iran and a series of photos he took of the people he had met and the sites he had visited in the country. Check this link for the priceless photos he captured.

Pharrell’s song “Happy” has been adopted by people around the world. If you check on Youtube you’ll find tributes to “Happy” from Senegal, Dubai, India, France, Jamaica, Tunisia, Japan, Morocco, Russia, Belgium, Philippines, and many more. I was, however, surprised to see a video paying tribute to Pharrell’s hit song from Iran, given the strict restrictions the government has placed on western music. We have all heard of underground bands (see film “No Ones Heard of Persian Cats”) from visitor to Iran witnessing concerts and performances by musicians behind the closed doors of houses and apartments, in basements and rooftops, hilltops, abandoned barns, and even inside their cars. Iranians are blasting pop music on their sound systems and dancing to their hearts desire. However, to tape a video and post it on a public venue like Youtube for all to see, took some unbelievable courage and perhaps naïveté. The dancers in the video must have thought they were immune to scrutiny or arrest since they were dancing to a sweet and infectious song with global appeal. There is even a video of people dancing to “Happy” in Yemen (a very strict Islamic country). The “Happy” video that got the young people in trouble shows the young women without the hijab and dancing with young men on the rooftop and inside the confines of a small living room. The arrest of these young people has drawn the ire of social media in and outside the U.S. and even Pharrell Williams himself has spoken up and condemned their arrest. In an interview, Williams is quoted as saying: “It is beyond sad that these kids were arrested for trying to spread happiness.” Yet even though the authorities clamped down on the young people whose video had been found offensive, another one from Iran has been posted on YouTube as well as one performed by puppets dancing to the Happy on the rooftop as a tribute to the dancers who were arrested.

Iranian_Tango

And then I stumbled upon a video of a couple dancing the tango, an intimate and sensual dance, not in the privacy of their home but right outside a mosque. Looks like no matter how much the morality police try to suppress people, happiness through music and dance has a way of rising to the top and not just roof tops.

Faces of People of Iran

Another site I learned about is the Facebook page is the “Humans of Tehran,” on the Humans of New York page; an enormously successful site with followers all over the world. The images captured on the Humans of Tehran page speak volumes of a country that so few of us living here in the U.S. know much of except what is reported on mainstream news media. What we don’t see are the faces of the children, the teens, college students, couples in love, fathers playing in the snow with their children, the elderly resting on a park bench, street vendors and artisans, images of cities, living rooms, beauty salons, restaurants and cafes, monuments, cityscapes and landscapes, nature and the urban life. Humans of Tehran puts the human face on the enemy and we see that the people are just like us, going to work, to school, cooking, cleaning, driving, skateboarding, hiking, lounging, just existing.

Humans_Of_Tehran
Credit: Humans of Tehran FB (Hilltop view of Tehran)

Humans_Of_Tehran_2
Credit: Humans of Tehran FB (Beauty Salon, where women can be free of the hijab, at least temporarily.)

Humans_Of_Tehran_3
Credit: Brandon Stanton (Humans of Tehran)

Humans_Of_Tehran_4
Credit: Brandon Stanton (Humans of Tehran)

Humans_Of_Tehran_5
Credit: Humans of Tehran FB (Hiking in the hills outside of Tehran is a very popular outdoor activity amongst Iranians of all ages.)

Humans_Of_Tehran_6
Credit: Brandon Stanton (Humans of Iran – Firefighters at Firehouse 64, Tehran)

For a look at current state of fashion in Iran, click here: http://ajammc.com/2014/03/11/a-fashionable-revolution/

Humans_Of_Tehran_7
Credit: Humans of Tehran FB (School children)

Humans_Of_Tehran_8
Credit: Brandon Stanton (Humans of Iran – Tehran Street Scene)

Humans_Of_Tehran_9
Credit: Humans of Tehran (The Metro in Tehran; the plans for the metro were drawn during the former Shah’s regime and implemented thereafter.)

Stealthy Freedom: Women Reclaiming Their Freedom

Recently, a brave new page popped up on my Facebook feed called “My Stealthy Freedom.” created by Masih Alinejad, an Iranian female journalist living in London. On this site Iranian women of all ages from different corners of Iran have their photos taken in public places without their hijab. By ridding themselves of their scarves, at least temporarily, they are expressing their right to be free to choose, free to wear or not to wear the hijab. This is a very bold move on the part of these women. In one photo (seen below), a young woman has tossed her scarf into the air as she stands in the middle of a neighborhood street with her arms stretched up to the sky and her long brown hair exposed for the world to see. A smile rests on her face as she looks up into the heavens.

Humans_Of_Tehran_10
Credit: Stealthy Freedom FB

In a video, another young woman is behind the wheel of her car driving through the city streets with her light brown hair exposed. No hijab, nothing. Women are having their photos taken without the hijab and posting it on this site. Each has something to say. Some express their opinion through poetry, veiled in metaphors and some say it as it is. “I want the freedom to choose. It is my human right.”

Unfortunately, Masih Alinejad, the creator of the Facebook page “My Stealthy Freedom” has been the target of ugly smear campaigns by Iran’s state-run media in order to discredit her. I won’t dignify what was said about Alinejad in this post, but I will share with you her response: “I’ve thought long and hard about how to respond. As a matter of principle, I’m going to sue for damages and file a formal complaint against the state television.” Definitely nothing stealthy about her; her statement is both bold and clear.

To the outside, Iran may appear one dimensional, but that is far from the truth. With its rich history dating back to nearly 3000 years, Iran is a land of dichotomy. A blog worth reading, though a couple of years old, explains this dichotomy in detail.

In spite of the dress code and civil rights restrictions concerning women, more women are engaging in public life through participating in elections, political campaigns and demonstrations. More women graduating from universities in Iran than men; in fact, women comprise 65% of all university students and represent an increasingly high percentage of the workforce in Iran. Women are competing for the same jobs as men, so much so that under Iran’s former President Ahmadinejad’s tenure, a law was to be passed to prohibit women from entering into specific degree programs at universities so as to not take seats away from the men. It is an interesting twist to affirmative action; Iranian style.

Jasmin S. Kuehnert
President & CEO ACEI
www.acei1.com

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